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Inside Corbis’ Archives

Corbis Corporation licenses rights to photos and other types of visual media. Their archives are preserved underground in a Pittsburgh mine. Learn more about their archiving system after the break.

Photo via Corbis Images

Photos of celebrities, politicians, athletes and other famous personalities are housed in the Corbis preservation facility in a Pittsburgh mine called Iron Mountain. The maximum storage facility is deep underground, 220 ft. below ground level to be exact. Stored inside are millions of photos and negatives that are preserved in a climate and humidity controlled environment. Some of the photos stored deep in the facility are those of Marilyn Monroe’s and Albert Einstein’s among others. You have probably seen some of them, but others haven’t been viewed by the public eye.

Corbis got the extensive collection from public and private archives. A number of the negatives are decades old but are still in mint condition. However, there are also a number of negatives, plastic plates and glass plates that have been shattered and ruined over time.

The Corbis archive is a cave of history. The photos depict events of the past, but thanks to the negatives and plates, they will forever be preserved. This is where we see the advantage of film versus digital. When taking photos with a digital camera, the photographer can make a choice and delete the photos, editing the final outcome. Corbis hopes that the collection will survive for thousands of years. They provide a better access to the images since most of them are being scanned and added online to let the public view some of histories secrets and treasures.

To know more about the archives, you can view the CBS video clip – Treasure Trove of Iconic Photos in Pa. Mine. Information for this article was taken from National Press Photographers Association.

written by jeanmendoza

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